Growler Taste Test: Haw River Farmhouse Ales Newlin’s Original Belgian Oatmeal Pale Ale

Haw River Farmhouse Ales Newlin’s Original Belgian Oatmeal Pale Ale – 5.4% ABV

Growler 1 day old

Pales ales get short shrift in today’s American craft beer movement.  Many home brewers and professional brewers alike skip over the pale ale and go right to the IPA.  IPAs are sexier.  They are more of everything:  hops, malt, and alcohol.  They have even inspired a new term “session IPA.”  That is an IPA with lower alcohol and hop profile then a traditional American IPA.  Of course, that is close to the same description of an American-style Pale Ale.

This is a shame because American Pale Ale (APA) was the style that created the craft beer movement in this country in the first place.  Almost everyone’s first home brew is an APA. Sierra Nevada built one of the biggest craft breweries in this country on the back of its revered Pale Ale, which is still one of the best and cleanest examples of an American Pale Ale. it is also a wonderful style of beer that when done well gives just enough hoppiness to let you know you are drinking a craft beer, but not so much as to feel like you are eating a bag of fresh cut grass.

That is why I love it when a brewer eschews the marketing gimmick that is session IPA and creates a good and creative American Pale Ale.  Newlin’s Original Belgian Oatmeal Pale Ale from Haw River Farmhouse ales is just such a beer.

2015-05-11 15.03.18Haw River has created a quality pale ale with a huge name.  Right in that name (Belgian and oatmeal) you see this is going to be a little bit different than most pale ales.  It pours with a clean slightly hazy golden straw color and has a thin but strong head of foam.  The first thing you notice with the aroma is the presence of the dry-hopped Galaxy and Crystal hops which provide a citrusy and floral nose.  You also get a fruitiness from the Belgian yeast strain used in fermentation.

By using oatmeal the beer is given a smooth mouth feel and tamps down some of the hop bitterness.  You still get the citrusy and piney hops taste without it being distracting.  The citrusy hops combined with the fruitiness of the Belgian yeast and a nice carbonation makes this a nice refreshing summer pale ale.

Haw River distributes throughout North Carolina with their beers (including Newlin’s) are available in 500 ml bottles and kegs.  If you’re in the NC you should be able to find and enjoy their beer at a store of some kind of near you and if you happen to be passing near Saxapahaw during the weekend going somewhere else you can stop by their taproom and have a pint.